By Randy Arrington
LURAY, March 10 — Five weeks ago, Luray High School senior Dalton Griffith made a bit of history. The standout quarterback signed his letter of intent to play football at Division II Frostburg State University.
“I’ve been here 32 years, and we haven’t done this very much,” LHS Athletic Director Don Ehlers said during the Feb. 3 signing ceremony.
Now in his fifth season with the Bulldogs, LHS head football coach Nolan Jefferies noted that Griffith is the first football player to sign a scholarship to play at the collegiate level since Reggie Cubbage in the late ‘80s.
“If he puts in the hard work, he can do great things at Frostburg State,” Coach Jefferies said. “I’m excited to follow him.”
Griffith, typically the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs, has also played four different positions on defense, including defensive end, outside linebacker, cornerback and safety. He’s racked up a number of tackles on defense already this season through two games, but things have started slow on the offense side where the senior has had a pair of fumbles and a couple of interceptions in the early going. However, he has also scored two of the Bulldogs’ three rushing touchdowns on the season.
It’s his arm strength and his 6’4″, 220-pound frame that drew the attention of Bobcats’ head coach DeLane Fitzgerald, who picked Griffith among 24 signees in the 2021 recruiting class. Griffith is the only quarterback among the Bobcats’ new recruits, but the 2020 roster included five QBs — including two seniors, two first-year players and one red shirt first-year.
CLICK THE LINK TO HEAR A MESSAGE TO RECRUITS FROM COACH FITZGERALD — https://frostburgsports.com/signingday/football/football/9/
Fitzgerald first discovered Griffith after speaking with Jefferies at a coaching clinic. The LHS quarterback verbally committed on Dec. 12 and signed the official paperwork at a ceremony on Feb. 3.
“It’s a pleasure, and at the same time a relief because you work so hard,” Grifith said after signing his letter of intent. “Since I was 4, I have worked to play at the next level.”
Yes, that’s right — at age 4, Griffith was playing organized football, complete with jerseys, helmets and coaches. We asked twice to be sure. The touted quarterback got his start in Midget League football in Page County.
He scored 18 touchdowns in his first year — at age 4.
“My dad says while most kids were playing with Legos, you came out of the womb holding a football,” Griffith said.
The three-year starter for Luray participated in the Dream All-American Bowl played in Alabama on MLK Day – Jan. 18 – to showcase high school talent from across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Players came from as far away as Texas to Pennsylvania, and from Florida to Iowa.
Griffith was named MVP of the game, with 126 yards and one touchdown through the air, as well as 30 yards on the ground — from just one scamper outside the pocket.
Last season with the Bulldogs, Griffith threw for more than 500 yards, tallying 10 touchdowns through the air, and picked up more than 450 yards on the ground with 12 rushing touchdowns.
CLICK THE LINK TO SEE HIGHLIGHTS — https://www.hudl.com/video/3/8060066/5f717891041f0c0b84296584
Griffith says his 6’4”, 220-pound frame has been clocked covering 40 yards in 4.59 seconds.
Coach Fitzgerald, entering his eighth season, hopes the Luray recruit can help the Bobcats in the Mountain East Conference of Division II football. Last season, the Frostburg football team went 8-3 in its first season at the Division II level, including a seven-game winning streak and a tie for second in the MEC. Prior to making the leap to D-II, the Bobcats went to a bowl game in 2016 and the NCAA Division III playoffs in 2017 and 2018.
Fitzgerald is Frostburg’s winningest coach, with 49 wins and an overall winning percentage of .742. The program’s accolades include:
• 8 NFL players;
• 284 wins;
• 12 post-season appearances;
• 38 All-Americans;
• 7 All-MEC selections in 2019.
Frostburg State kicks off their five-game spring season on Thursday night, March 11, as they host Wheeling at Bobcat Stadium.
Griffith will be traveling this fall to the FSU campus 30 minutes outside of Cumberland, Md. In 2020, the four-year college had just over 4,000 undergraduate students and more than 700 graduate students.
“I want to thank my mom and dad and family — if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here,” Griffith said following his Feb. 3 signing.
It takes a village to raise a quarterback, and it truly was a family affair. Mom threw the ball with him; Dad was the critic; Uncle J (Jeremy Griffith) was an off-field coach — “if it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be the quarterback I am today” — and Uncle Jon (Griffith) was the motivator — “he’s a motivator for me and I really appreciate him for that.”
Dalton took time on Signing Day to thank a number of people who helped him reach his dreams, and he hopes his story will inspire other young athletes in the county to pursue their dreams of “going to the next level” as well.
“I hope this shows kids because you come from somewhere small doesn’t mean you can’t do something big,” Griffith said.
Griffith and the Bulldogs have stumbled out of the gate in the shortened 2021 spring football season. Luray could easily be undefeated on the season and standing at the top of the Bull Run District. However, an overtime, 17-14, loss to Buffalo Gap in the opener and a narrow loss in the final two minutes, 7-6, to Strasburg last Friday, has left the Bulldogs at 0-2. They will be looking for that first win when they host Stonewall Jackson on Friday night.
Friday night’s LHS football game against Stonewall Jackson was originally scheduled to be played at Quicksburg, but was moved on Wednesday to Bulldog Field because of electrical problems at Stonewall’s field.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.
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